"I have encountered a lot of discrimination in my life... words like wetback, or ugly words like tar baby." The speaker is not an undocumented Mexican immigrant or a Salvadoran refugee, but George P. Bush, the son of Florida Governor Jeb and his Mexican wife, Columba. Ramos, columnist and Emmy award-winning anchor on Noticiero Univision, makes the case that if a Bush can face racial and ethnic discrimination, imagine what confronts the average Latino. It's a compelling point, as most of the people Ramos writes about in this lively, smart and sometimes cursory tour through U.S. Hispanic lives and cultures have nowhere near the status or privilege of a Bush family scion. The 49 short and mid-length pieces of this collection cover a wide range: e.g., undocumented Chicano nannies in Aspen tending the children of wealthy white vacationers; the energetic battle by Puerto Ricans to stop the navy shelling of Vieques; the shooting death of Amadou Diallo by New York City police. Ramos makes quick, tart points in the shorter pieces, but his longer meditation on the Elian Gonzalez affair shows that he can write sustained, critical think pieces as well. More a journalistic collection than a full-length study, the book is entertaining, informative and well done, but breaks little new ground. (Feb.) Forecast: Look for some sales via Ramos's Noticiero Univision profile and 35-paper syndicated weekly column, but the lack of a solid news hook or personal interest story will prevent larger numbers. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Ramos sends his message loud and clear: Hispanics are the emerging minority, and their contributions to American society both culturally and socially are already well established. More importantly, Hispanics are a powerful economic voice all that is left is for their political clout to catch up with their economic impact. With over seven million Mexicans born in Mexico living in the United States, these immigrants cannot be ignored. Crossing into America simply for opportunity, Mexicans fill many jobs most Americans would reject, yet discrimination is still widespread, and the nearly two and a half million illegal immigrants face even greater hardships. In brief vignettes, Ramos, a native Mexican and as a Univision anchorman one of America's most recognized Hispanics, delivers powerful images of immigrants attempting to provide for their family and improve their quality of life, and he destroys many of the stereotypes of Mexicans seeking only welfare benefits. Among the many villains, Ramos counts former California governor Pete Wilson, conservative Pat Robertson, and the migra, or Immigration and Naturalization Service. Initially published in Mexico as La Otra Cara de America, this significant book belongs in all libraries. Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., AL Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Voices and experiences from the great Hispanic emigration to the US, gathered and put into appropriate context by the levelheaded yet passionate journalist Ramos.